Apply Knowledge Globally

Alaska Region, State and Private Forestry, hosts Swedish International Forestry Fellow


Southeast Alaska FHP Field Crew, from left to right: Dr. Elizabeth Graham (entomologist), Maja Nilsson (International Fellow), Isaac Davis (biotech), and Dr. Karen Hutten (biological scientist). Forest Service Photo by Dr. Karen Hutten.

– Through the International Forestry Fellows scholarship and exchange program Alaska Region, State and Private Forestry is hosting Maja Nilsson, a second year Master of Science in Forestry student from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Nilsson is working closely with Juneau based Forest Health Protection staff, Dr. Elizabeth Graham, Dr. Karen Hutten and Robin Mulvey on “Monitoring Yellow-cedar Decline and Other Mortality Agents in Mature Young-growth Stands on the Tongass NF” project. The goal of the project is to monitor mature young-growth stands (20-60 years old) on the central and southern Tongass National Forest for symptoms of yellow-cedar decline, as well as other mortality agents, using a combination of aerial survey data, high-resolution low-altitude imagery, and ground surveys to determine key causes of mortality in managed stands.


Maja Nilsson, International Forestry Fellow, monitoring for defoliating insects including the non-native spruce aphid. Forest Service Photo by Dr. Karen Hutten.

Alaska Region, State and Private Forestry has provided a valuable opportunity for Nilsson to participate in several monitoring and surveying projects, as well as working with silviculturists, timber cruisers, recreation, research and other Forest Service units. With a positive, can-do attitude she dove into field work and wasn’t deterred by the need to bushwack in the rain through young growth and devils club. Nilsson quickly familiarized herself with the different management practices conducted on the Tongass National Forest as well as damage agents commonly encountered on the forest. A constant exchange of information occurred through the field work, whether discussing the understory plants common to Alaska and Sweden, or learning differences and similarities about forest management practices in Sweden.

This exchange program has been a great opportunity for Alaska Region, State and Private Forestry to directly contribute strategic goals of applying knowledge globally, while fostering intercultural exchanges and educational training.